PRESIDENT’S COLUMN November/December 2009 – Lara Windett

Doing Too Much

This is not a novel topic in our society, and many therapists have written about the subject and how helping professionals are prone to piling too many projects into their lives. Recently, I have come face to face with the idea of doing too much, in a very concrete way.

I was driving out of a parking lot and hit a parked car, this just after the August board meeting when I had a number of things on my mind. My county colleagues all assumed that I was backing up and hit someone; but no, I was driving straight ahead. Clearly my mind was elsewhere. I left a note with my contact information for the car’s owner — who I imagined was playing soccer with his child in the field nearby — and a big part of me just wanted to drive away. Just drive away and leave the scene of what I had caused. Of course, I would not want that done to me and, besides, it was my fault and I expect my clients to be accountable and I need to practice the same. The man whose car I hit called and said that he showed his son my note because “that is what people do when they make a mistake — they admit it and take responsibility.” It was good for a laugh. I had the claim started already and gave the owner of the parked car the information — it made me thankful that I had paid the insurance premium that I “never” used. Fortunately, I have not done something like this in 20 years, and now that my car is fixed it seems like a big part of my daily routine is back to “normal.” I kept saying to myself that this is why I buy insurance. So within a week, my car was fixed and I am still working on slowing down and watching where I am going.

In thinking about the last year, I have a number of things for which to be thankful. My family and animals are healthy. I still have my county job and am working with the same team of talented people after watching some severe cuts to mental health and alcohol and drug services. Many of my county colleagues have been moved to different positions. April through June were difficult months. A number of MFT positions were eliminated, which, while distressing to the therapists, is worse for the clients who no longer receive certain mental health and other services. Clinics were closed and patients transferred. I was always wondering if I was going to get “bumped” into a different position. Management changes have been stressful. My first manager at the county was a good clinician as well as very supportive. Fortunately, the new management (who is not new to the county or to managing people) is also supportive and the team is relieved that we, as well as our clients, have an advocate.

As this will be my last column, I wanted to reflect on some of the chapter successes of the past year:

· We launched a new chapter website that has a number of additional features and is cheaper to operate than the last website.

· We held a number of successful workshops that had been requested by members.

· We continue to have a vibrant luncheon program with interesting speakers and topics.

· Our monthly support groups help members in all stages of their professional needs and continue to be free of charge to all members.

· We discussed and took feedback about the marriage equality issue and communicated with the membership and CAMFT about this topic.

I appreciate the time donated by all chapter volunteers because without all of this time donation, the chapter would not be able to offer as many services to our members. All board members appreciate hearing from chapter members and your feedback is valuable in making decisions that affect everyone.

In closing, I want to thank the board for all of their support; I will miss seeing many of you next year during my last board term.